At the time of her death there were no great revelations, there wasn’t a tunnel with a bright light, no warm voice welcoming her home.[Full inside]
Summary: At the time of her death there were no great revelations, there wasn’t a tunnel with a bright light, no warm voice welcoming her home. What would you do if you were given the chance to start over? Would you take it, even if it meant everyone would forget and you had to start over with the other brother? What if it meant that your loved ones would get a second chance as well? Would you take it? Or would you let it pass you by?
Stranger than Fiction
At the time of her death there were no great revelations, there wasn’t a tunnel with a bright light, or a warm voice welcoming her home. There was only unfathomable darkness, and she found that if stared into it for too long it made stomach roll and head throb.
A bone chilling cold began to settle into her very core, and she shivered as she wrapped her arms around her middle. The water lapped gently at her knees, edging her ever closer to the darkness before her. It was warm, too warm for this water, and her eyelids drooped as she stumbled forward slightly.
Her life cycle was coming to an end. She could feel the tackiness of the blood that had seeped from her throat onto the front of her shirt, and she tugged at it uselessly. The blood was beginning to freeze and it made her skin crawl to think of it like that. It hurt to breathe, and with each intake of breath she could feel her already shredded skin split further.
She wasn’t afraid of Death anymore. She had witnessed enough of it to know it wasn’t Death that hurt. It was the dying that got you. She couldn’t remember what it had felt like to die, she couldn’t remember a lot now that she tried to think about it. It felt like her thoughts were stuck, and she couldn’t look forward or back. She could only experience the now.
She couldn’t even remember how she had died.
With her death came her freedom. She was freed from the responsibilities that had been thrust upon her, free from the carnage Naraku wrought, free from loving Inuyasha. She stumbled with her thoughts and the current picked up, dragging her forward now.
She shivered violently, and her bones ached with the cold. Frost had formed on her damp hair, and she locked her knees trying to hold her ground. Whatever it was that was ahead of her, she wasn’t ready for it yet. It didn’t feel right.
They were with her. She was supposed to wait for them.
Miroku. Sango. Shippo. Kirara.
They were with her. Beside her. They held her up, held her firm against Death’s unrelenting current.
A sob caught in her throat as she stared at Sango’s haunting beauty. A smile curved Sango’s lips, and she reached out a slender hand to tuck a frost covered piece of hair behind Kagome’s ear. Her hand slipped from Kagome’s hair and she backed away from her, eyes shining with tears unshed.
Miroku’s cursed hand paused slightly against her mud streaked cheek, and his eyes held leagues of sadness that caused her own to spill over. The rosary was gone, and in Death Miroku had been freed from the terror that the Kazaana had caused him. Briefly she wondered if it was the Kazaana that had killed Miroku, or if it was something else.
She desperately wished it had been something else.
She held her arms out in front of her and Shippo bound into them with barely contained joy. It felt so good to have him in her arms that tears spilled down her cheeks and she could do nothing but crush him to her cheek and shower him with kisses. His tiny hands held her head firm and he kissed the tip of her nose before he squirmed free and leapt onto Kirara’s back.
She reached out her own hand towards their retreating figures, fingers curling around nothing but air as the three before her pulled away. Her fingertips barely brushed against their clothes and her heart ached as she watched their lips form the words they could no longer speak.
She took a step forward, and the current surged around her, pulling her under and she saw the panic in their eyes, the fear as all three started forward as if to yank her free from the waves.
She wanted to tell them not to worry, that she would be okay.
It didn’t hurt anymore.
Spluttering and coughing Kagome was thrown from underneath the waves. Her teeth chattered, and she bit her tongue as she hit the ground with a body jarring thud. The metallic taste of blood filled her mouth, spilling down her chin to stain her already torn and muddy sweater.
She was on land now, some sort of grassy inlet, and she reveled in the feel of the grass against her palms. She wasn’t alone though, she could feel the presence of life somewhere in front of her and she hesitantly raised her eyes, peeking through her bangs. The presence was undeniably powerful, and something she had never felt before. It wasn’t demon, or human.
Kagome’s eyes widened as she sucked in a breath. If she had been honest, she was expecting some humanoid being. Some Godlike being or even an angel would’ve been better than what stood before her.
She wasn’t expecting a jackal headed being, with skin as black as rotting flesh. She knew who he was of course, she wasn’t that ignorant. He protected the Dead and brought them to the Afterlife safely. She dropped her eyes as quickly as she raised them, as her body began to tremble.
She felt the flail touch the underside of her chin and she flinched, raising a chuckle that sounded like the baying of a thousand hounds. It made her ears throb, and she fell on her elbows to cover her ears against the sound.
A smile curved his canine muzzle, and when he spoke the tiny area came alive with the roar of hounds, “Raise your eyes, Kagome.”
Teeth chattering she did as she was told, fingers digging deep into the rich soil of the inlet. The frost had melted, and her body dripped water everywhere but the cold had not subsided. His eyes were as black as the ocean night, and she could not look away. There seemed to be flames licking at the back of his eyes, and she could hear the cries of the dead, feel their rotting flesh clawing at her life force.
It made her back bow with the weight of the spiritual energy.
“You know where you are, yes?”
Kagome nodded slowly, her breath coming in short pants, “Yes. I…I know.”
“You were not supposed to die today Kagome. It was not your time. You are still needed,” he blinked releasing Kagome from his gaze.
He turned his back on her, arms folded at the small of his back, flail horizontal to her, “I have a…proposition for you. That is, if you are willing to hear me out?”
It was a rhetorical question, and she kept silent like she knew he expected of her.
She didn’t have to be facing him to see that he was grinning, “I am able to restore you to life, soul intact,” he raised his hand for silence as Kagome opened her mouth, “You will not be like Kikyo, Kagome. I am not some backwater witch; you will be whole if you choose to return.”
“If you choose to return, you will have to start over.”
“Start over? What do you mean? From the day I died,” Kagome worried her lip between her teeth as his expression changed, “Or…a few weeks? Months?”
“You will Start Over. You will be given a clean slate. Everything will be restored to the day that your cat disappeared into the well; it will be as though this day, or the days before, never happened.”
Her heart dropped to her feet, “…If…If I choose to accept…what does that mean? What else does it entail? This can’t be all, it can’t be that easy.”
“No, Kagome. It won’t be that easy. It may be considerably harder, in fact. Sango, Miroku, Shippo, everyone’s memories of you will be erased; it will be as though you never existed at all. But they will come back.”
She felt as if he had kicked her in the stomach. All the air left her lungs and she screwed her eyes shut. Forget? They would…forget her? But…he said they would be brought back. They would have second chances. She could save them this time.
“You will start over as well. Your memories will not be erased but merely…shrouded. You will have the capability of uncovering them, though, remembering but you will have to work for it. But you have already failed on your journey with Inuyasha. It will not be him waiting for you on the other side of the well.”
He might as well have stabbed her, her heart did this funny twist and pang and she felt like she couldn’t breathe.
A sad smile twisted his canine lips, and he put his blackened paw underneath her chin tilting her head up, “I cannot tell you who you will meet this time, Kagome. You will have to decide for yourself this is a risk worth taking.”
Kagome licked her lips, and ran a hand through her hair nervously as she struggled to compose herself, “What will happen if I say no?”
His paw slipped away from her face, stepping away from her he turned back to the cherry blossom tree, “The world will go on. Life waits for no one. Even now time passes, and Naraku moves forward with his plans. No one can say with certainty what will happen if you say no, other than that you will all remain here. This is not heaven, nor is it hell. You will not move on.”
She bit down on her lip to hold in the laugh that was bubbling up her slashed throat. Everyone’s fate rested on her shoulders again, even if Death she could not get away from this. If she said no she would be condemning everyone to a life of wandering in between forever, of never returning or moving on.
It didn’t seem like she was given much of a choice.
This had never been her life to live.
What choice did she have?
“Can I ask you one last question before I decide? How did I die?”
A/N: Ehh, This may be a prologue more than a real chapter. I wanted to get a feel for the story. I haven’t written FF in forever, so I’m not entirely too happy with how choppy I am with writing in fandoms again.